Wallis Simpson

Wallis Simpson

Wallis Simpson (former Duchess of Windsor) is credited with saying, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” 

During the Thanksgiving holiday in America, the nation as a whole kicks off what I call the “eating and shopping season.” People who hardly cook all year are pressured into making turkey and dressing and pies for Thanksgiving, baking cookies for the office cookie exchange, and sampling homemade sweets and store bought candies supplied generous work mates. 

Then there is the shopping - starting with black Friday (which now runs from Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after), followed by Cyber Monday, through December and into the after Christmas sales in January.

All this eating and shopping generally leads to rich waistlines and thin bank accounts.  

Even though we in CGI do no celebrate Christmas, it is easy to get caught up in cooking special treats and hitting the daily deals when everything from tires to toys are on sale. So, it isn’t surprising that after spending major money on a Thanksgiving feast and eating my way through three days of family meal-sharing that included no less than 15 dessert options, my thoughts turned to Wallis Simpson’s assessment. 

Seems ridiculous now, generations later, to say you cannot be too thin. We know that is simply not true. You can, in fact, be so thin you die. People die from anorexia. 

As a Christian, can we be too thin, spiritually speaking? Here are a few things that the Bible warns against being thin on: 

  • Faith. Jesus had this to say in Luke18: 8 (latter part) “…when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
  • Forgiveness. Mark 11:26 "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
  • Mercy. James 2:13 “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy…”
  • Patience. Luke 21:10-19, See especially verse 19 “In your patience possess ye your souls.”

I’m sure you can come up with more examples of character qualities we cannot afford to be “skinny” on. We can be too thin, spiritually, if we don’t have enough love, mercy and faith to share with others or to carry us through in tough time. The good news is that there is always plenty of “food” at the Master’s table. We just have to be willing to dig in. 

Perhaps, Wallis Simpson got the “can’t be too rich” part right. I might be tempted to agree that you cannot be too rich in money – just because I think I’d like to try that. Probably, very few of us will get the chance in this life to be truly rich when it comes to worldly wealth.

However, the Bible as many examples of negative results of being rich in worldly things.

The Bible indicates that we can be too focused on riches, thinking that they provide us with security against an uncertain future. Jesus covers this in a parable about a rich man in Luke 12:15-20 who was too focused on accumulating things in this life. Jesus concludes with this in verse 21 "So [is] he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." – showing that wealth in this life did no good for the rich man after his death.

The Bible also indicates that we must not fall into the trap of thinking we are rich when actually we are not. Rev 3:17 says "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…” [See Rev. 3:16-18]  

With many scriptures and analogies, the Bible indicates we should be rich in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, rich in faith, rich in hospitality. In the case of these things, we cannot be too rich.

Let’s commit to being poor in spirit [Mat 5:3 "Blessed [are] the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.] but rich toward God. Let’s commit to being full of (or fat on) the Holy Spirit and faith [Act 11:24 “For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.”]

So, when it comes to Spiritual matters, we can be too rich, so that we don’t rely on God, and we can be too thin on the character qualities of a child of God, so that we don’t glorify Him in this life.  I’d say Wallis Simpson had it all wrong. 

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